A culinary online center dedicated to promoting the importance and the joy of American home cooking with an emphasis on local products and talent, celebrating the unique spirit and energy of the new food world ethos, especially in Vermont.
I love quotes that add meaning to my life. Here are a few to live by:
We can dramatically increase global food availability and environmental sustainability by using more of our crops to feed people directly and less to fatten livestock.
â€”Jonathan A. Foley, director of the Institute on the Environment, U of MN
Donâ€™t eat anything your great-grandmother wouldnâ€™t recognize as food.
Cooking is at once childâ€™s play and adult joy. And cooking done with care is an act of love.
People who eat according to the rules of a traditional food culture are generally healthier than those of us eating a modern Western diet of processed food.
Food for the Soul as well as the Body: Shojin Ryori
Japan for the First Time
Late last March, I traveled to Japan for the first time. I knew I would enjoy the beauty of ancient temples and palaces, and, I knew I would be thrilled by the bullet trains and high-tech innovation of contemporary Japanese society, but I had no idea how much the food of Japan would satisfy my body as well as touch my soul.
A Sushi Expert
When I returned from my trip, I had a delightful lunch with a friend, Hiroko Shimbo. Hiroko is the author of a number of very intelligent books on Japanese cooking: The Japanese Kitchen, Hirokoâ€™s American Kitchen and the book edited by my stepmother Judith Jones, The Sushi Experience. All are cookbooks that help the American home cook understand Japanese cuisine. The Sushi Experience, is a thoughtful and detailed bookâ€”a terrific way to become proficient at this popular Japanese specialty. Hiroko is one of the few Japanese women considered to have mastered this ancient culinary expertise.
Of All the Delicious Meals
But, the reason for my lunch with Hiroko was not to ask about sushi, but to find out what she knew about another unique cooking style from her native country, the vegetarian cooking
technique called, Shojin Ryori. Of all the remarkable meals I enjoyed on my trip, the one that remains in my memory as the most delicious and most satisfying is a Shojin Ryori lunch prepared by monks in a mountain monastery outside of Nara.
A Beautiful Place
We talked about the day I discovered Shojin Ryori and I described my trip by chartered bus, climbing the mountain road as it negotiated the hairpin turns along the way to reach the monastery. Â I was exhilarated to be in the cool air of the uplands outside of the tranquil city of Nara and hungry for lunch. The whirlwind of touring activity in Kyoto had been a prelude to the calm of Nara, a city known for its many temples and beautiful parks where diminutive deer run free and cherry trees are considered a national treasure. So, I thought, this side-trip to visit a monastery was just another beautiful afternoon in a beautiful place.
In retrospect, I wish Iâ€™d had Hiroko by my side for this trip, I was completely at home with the local cuisine even switching to Japanese breakfasts by the second day of the trip. But nothing Iâ€™d eaten so far had prepared me for the remarkable lunch I was to have that day.
A Remarkable Feast
Ushered onto the Shoryakuji Monastery grounds, shoes left at the doorstep of the temple entrance, my tour group, mostly lay Buddhists from Sante Fe and the West Coast, filed down a narrow hallway that led to a large airy tatami-floored dining
area. Along the way members of the kitchen staff pointed out a display of herbs and vegetables labeled in English.
A New Eating Experience
At low lacquered tables, our group sat and watched with interest as we were served a myriad of dishes, each one a perfect jewel of preparation and design. It seemed to me that even the plates that held the many courses of the extensive menu were chosen for the way they complimented the vegetables they contained. It was a Pandoraâ€™s Box of a lunch, each dish a treasure unto itself, yet each one in perfect harmony with all the others. There were a few exceptions, but basically I had no idea what I was eating. In the process, I was definitely transported by the monastery meal into a unique version of Japanese heaven by both new flavors and new textures, and something else, indefinable, as though my spirit had been engaged. It was an entirely new eating experience.
Only when Iâ€™d had lunch with Hiroko Shimbo in New York a month later, did I begin to understand that the lunch Iâ€™d had in Japan is as much a meditation as it is a cuisine style. The Shojin Ryori practitionerâ€™s understanding of how certain herbs and vegetables effect our bodies health and well-being is as important as the meditative way Shojin Ryori is prepared. Â I found Hirokoâ€™s explanation of Shojin Ryori so interesting, I asked her to share it with my blog readers. Take a look at Hiroko’s description of this 7th century vegetarian cooking style still practiced in Japan. Itâ€™s her contribution to the Spoon Fed Stories section of my blog.
And, as always, let me know what you think!
Posted: 8-1-2014SUBSCRIBE TO THIS BLOG’S FEED
2 Responses to “Food for the Soul as well as the Body: Shojin Ryori”
Leave a Reply
Food events that have caught my eye.
a La Carte Videos
Bronwyn Dunne and Judith Jones Prepare Two Potato Salads at Bryn Teg. See the recipes
Gateau de Crepes- In Mollyâ€™s Kitchen.
See recipe from the Smitten Kitchen
- This is Not a Gardening Blog - Apr 2017
- New Guest Writer: Welcome Corrie to the Green Mountain State! - Apr 2017
- A Farewell To The Green Mountain State - Jul 2016
- Zabby & Elfâ€™s Stone Soup, Part II - May 2016
- Zabby & Elfâ€™s Stone Soup - Mar 2016
- Gratitude - Dec 2015
- Food Entrepreneurs Part V: Brio Coffeeworks - Nov 2015
- Food Entrepreneurs Part IV: Tomgirl Juice Co. - Oct 2015
- Food Entrepreneurs Series Part III: The Bakery At The Farmhouse Kitchen - Aug 2015
- Food Entrepreneurship in Vermont Part II: Bijou Fine Chocolates - Jul 2015
- Summer Events In Vermont - Jul 2015
- Is Localizing Americaâ€™s Food System Possible? - Jun 2015
- Food Entrepreneurship in Vermont Part I: SharkBite Hummus - Jun 2015
- Nourish Vermont: Traditional Foods and Health Gathering - May 2015
- Late Sugaring In The Northeast Kingdom - May 2015
- Baking With Bayley Hazen Blue - Apr 2015
- Vermont Artisan Village - Mar 2015
- A Rare Book Indeed - Nov 2014
- It’s Time for an Organic Revolution! - Sep 2014
- Food for the Soul as well as the Body: Shojin Ryori - Aug 2014
- The Venerable Shojin Ryori Cuisine of Japan by Hiroko Shimbo - Aug 2014
- Better than Summer Camp: Summer Programs in Cheese Making, Fermentation, Charcuterie, Draft Horse Farming & Food Writing at Sterling College - May 2014
- We Did It! GMO Labeling Passed in Both the Vermont House & Senate - Apr 2014
- A Very Important Birthday: Judith Jones Celebrates Her 90th Birthday! - Mar 2014
- A Book Is On Its Way! As my interest in local farming has grown, I find myself writing a bookâ€¦ - Jan 2014
- After the Barn Fire Fundraiser Dinner to Benefit Maple Wind Farm â€“ Tues, Jan 28 at Hinesburgh Public House - Jan 2014
- Sign Up for Blog Updates from In the Kitchen with Bronwyn & We’ll Donate $2 to the VT Foodbank for each subscription through Dec 31! - Nov 2013
- A Recipe for the Holidays from Shelburne Farms - Nov 2013
- When the Farm is a School: Shelburne Farms - Nov 2013
- Bronwyn Jones Dunne Selected by IACP as Featured Blogger - Nov 2013
- Fairfield Farm at The Hotchkiss School: Where Academics & Agriculture Meet - Oct 2013
- Farm to School â€“ Not Just a Slogan - Oct 2013
- The Making of the â€śZetterburgerâ€ť: A True Tale of Creativity in the Kitchen - Aug 2013
- The “Zetterburger” Recipe - Aug 2013
- From the Sea Cloud to the Cloud Nine of Dining - Aug 2013
- Making Fresh Mozzarella - Jul 2013
- The Spirit of Vermont at the 2013 UVM Food Sustainability Summit - Jul 2013
- My Shangri-La: A Weekend at Twin Farms Resort - Jun 2013
- Twin Farms’ Gluten-Free SoufflĂ© Pancake Recipe - Jun 2013
- Remarkable Recipes, Remarkable Women - Apr 2013
- Food & Art at Twin Farms - Apr 2013
- Video of Bronwyn Dunne & Judith Jones Preparing Potato Salads at BrynTeg - Mar 2013
- Potatoes from Peru: An Ancestral Flavor Reclaimed - Mar 2013
- Cookbook Author Joan Nathanâ€™s 70th Birthday Party - Feb 2013
- Subscribe to my Blog by March 31 to Benefit the VT Foodbank! - Feb 2013
- The Mindful Carnivore - Jan 2013
- An Adventure in Cooking, Food & Healthy Livingâ€¦ - Jan 2013
- Caledonia Spirits & Winery: The Honey Man’s Dream - Dec 2012
- A Spoonful of Fresh Maple Yogurtâ€”Farmers to You Delivers! - Dec 2012
- Bronwyn Featured in Best of Burlington - Dec 2012
- Private Cooking Classes with Bronwyn! - Dec 2012
- A Last Feast Before A Perfect Storm - Nov 2012
- Two Last Meals, Part 2: Breakfast at The Inn at Shelburne Farms - Nov 2012
- Radio Flyerâ€¦ but Melons or Swiss Chard? - Nov 2012
- Two Last Meals, Part 1: Lunch at the Circus Smirkus Pie Car - Nov 2012
- Cedar Circle Farm’s 2012 Heirloom Tomato Guide - Oct 2012
- My Mother-in-law’s Favorite Meal: BLTs - Oct 2012
- Fall’s Upon Us: Tomato Harvest Festival & Circus Smirkus - Oct 2012
- Wholegrain Sourdough Breads 2 Day Class with John Mellquist of Trukenbrod Mill & Bakery - Oct 2012
- Cold Pea Soup: Catching up with Summer Flavor & My Move - Sep 2012
- See Bronwyn Jones Dunne in Julia Child’s 100th Birthday Program in VT Public Television’s Video Segment - Aug 2012
- Cooking with Evan Jones: My Father’s Recipes, Part 4 of 4 - Aug 2012
- Bronwyn Dunne Helps VT Public Television Honor Julia Child’s 100th Birthday - Aug 2012
- Cooking with Evan Jones: My Father’s Recipes, Part 3 of 4 - Jun 2012
- Cooking with Evan Jones: My Father’s Recipes, Part 2 of 4 - May 2012
- Imagine Who Is Coming to Dinner - Apr 2012
- Cooking with Evan Jones: My Fatherâ€™s Recipes, Part 1 of 4 - Apr 2012
- A Dinner at Salt CafĂ© after Tropical Storm Irene - Apr 2012
- Welcome to my Kitchen! - Apr 2012